From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
TRUSSVILLE — The Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce had Trussville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Pattie Neill as its guest speaker for the April luncheon. Neill presented the State of the Schools address with all positive news.
Neill said the system is on an upward trajectory as it nears the end of the 2018-2019 school year. The system now has five schools: three elementary, one middle and one high school. The system was up 163 students this year. Neill said the system is starting to see growth because of new homes coming to Trussville. She said she will be monitoring growth closely to keep up with any influx of students.
Neill thanked the Trussville City Schools Education Foundation, the Athletic Foundation and Courtesy Buick GMC in Trussville for financial support.
In 2018, the system ranked #2 in the state on the Alabama State Department of Education report card. Trussville City Schools scored a 96. That was up from the previous year when the system ranked #5 with a 93. Mountain Brook was the only system ahead of Trussville in 2018 and it had a score of 98.
Neill believes an important part of gauging system success is tracking the progress of graduates in their first year of college. The University of Alabama and Auburn University reported those numbers in spring of 2018. Graduates of Hewitt-Trussville who attended Auburn had a 100% completion rate in their freshman year. That compares to 95.3% of all Auburn freshmen. At Alabama, 97.22% of students from Hewitt-Trussville completed their first year, compared to 95.28% of all freshmen at the university.
“I’m very, very proud of our state school report for Hewitt-Trussville High School freshmen…,” Neill said. “It’s very important and not talked about very much.”
Neill said academics isn’t the only thing she’s proud of.
“That’s our purpose, but we have also had high rankings in athletics and we have had state-level play in football, track, baseball and girls’ basketball just in the last year,” Neill said. “Also our transportation department had an outstanding inspection and always has.”
Neill also recognized the school system’s fine arts and public relations departments for excellence.
When it comes to safety, Neill pointed out that Hewitt-Trussville Middle School just received the Attorney General’s Safe Schools Initiative Award for Excellence and was one of only 10 schools in the state to achieve the honor. Along with personnel, training, action plans and programs, the system also has secure facilities that the superintendent said are very important when it comes to keeping students safe.
“We have all of our doors locked, we have double-entry vestibules, we have everything going for us and we’re so fortunate and so blessed to have the school facilities we have,” Neill said.
One area the superintendent hopes to improve upon is mental health. Beth Cardwell has been named Student Support Specialist to help with that.
“Mental health is changing in frequency, it’s changing in severity and it changes in our communities and in our nation to the extent that we’re always playing catch-up to help students and families with mental health issues,” Neill said.
The system is focusing on improving the mental health of students and addressing issues they may face, according to Neill. Children’s of Alabama has created the Psychiatric Intake Response Center. It can be reached at (205) 638-PIRC (7472).
Dr. Pattie Neill has been the superintendent for Trussville City Schools for seven years. The school board meets the third Monday of each month. Visit the system’s website at www.trussvillecityschools.com to check out the calendar.